Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My Guest Today - Cat Gardiner, author of A Moment Forever {Giveaway} #AMF


An Attic = Someone’s Story

Hello! I’m absolutely delighted to visit True Book Addict and make new friends today. Thank you so much, Michelle for your warm welcome. There are many themes in my new WWII historical fiction novel, A Moment Forever, that I could expand on, but one singular event put wheels in motion in Chapter One. I think that’s the best theme to explore today since TBA is my first Poetic Book Tours’ stop.

One of my two heroines is bequeathed a house in 1992, and its contents, particularly in the attic, send her on quite a journey to discover her ancestry – the roots, events, and people deliberately hidden from her knowledge.

In the armoire

Growing up, my childhood home didn’t have an attic, but we did have a basement. Half was my mother’s cheery art studio (where I loved to visit) and the other half my father’s dreary workshop (which gave me the willies.) But in dad’s man cave there stood a monolithic orange-colored armoire that, at my young age, I concluded contained all the secrets of the universe. It wasn’t until my 24th year that he opened the mysterious cabinet and shared with me old New York City newspapers (some of the Titanic sinking,) photographic glass negatives, vintage cameras, signed photographs of silent film stars, and various other memorabilia and ephemera. In a way, these were the secrets of a microcosmic universe: my family. Within the illuminating discoveries I learned that my grandfather worked as an apprentice photographer for Edison Studios and that as a boy, he collected newspapers reporting on events that he thought would be historical. Without the armoire “attic” those pieces of a family might not have survived to tell a story.

Within the armoire was an embroidered silk 19th Century glove box – another attic of sorts. A mighty discovery on my part because upon closer inspection I was able to construct some pieces of the grandmother I never knew: She was a suffragette and she loved to crochet using the bone hooks and implements in the treasure box. “Carrie” as she was called, was sentimental, keeping a dance card, letters, and cabinet cards of people I’d never heard of. I analyzed these “directionals” on the roadmap to discovering the lives once lived, gathering information as if compiling an FBI case. I framed the images of my namesake grandmother with my grandfather. Also in the box was my great-grandfather’s United States Naturalization certificate, an incredible piece of history and perhaps it is in the fiber of my instilled patriotism. My connection to the past formed and these abstract people became detailed portraits of historical significance to me. The armoire began my genealogical search into census records and ship manifests. It became imperative for me to remember – without actually knowing them – the lives they once led.



Frank C. #27967 (both images)

Have you ever heard of the Willard suitcases? It was sort of an obscure archeological find in 1995 but, to history lovers like me, it wasn’t obscure at all. Like the above personal narrative, it was the discovery of the most important keepsakes of 400 lives. The suitcases, found in an attic, were attics themselves, and thank goodness they were discovered! You see, Willard State Hospital, an asylum for the “insane”, located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, closed in 1995, and in one of the abandoned buildings, workers discovered an anti-room in the attic. Rows of wooden racks were lined with the still-packed suitcases of the committed patients. They were alphabetized by patient name and organized by date between 1910 and 1950. Forgotten, like their owners, and covered by bird droppings and grime, the suitcases remained untouched for decades – since the first day of the owner/patients’ arrival. Frozen in time, the personal contents bare witness that these men and women LIVED as sure as you and I do. They once dreamed, struggled; they worked, had hobbies, prayed; they grieved and loved. They had families and cherished memories. Yet almost 6,000 were buried in the asylum’s cemetery with only a four-inch circular stone and a number to attest to their existence. That’s right – a number – not a name. But the contents of their “attic” paints beautiful, colorful canvases of their humanity.



Mr. Dmytro #32643

Examining the photographs of the opened suitcases, I thought of that old question: “If there was a fire, what would you take?” And it was evident by what had been packed that the personal effects were what they valued most in life. Further, I thoughtfully pondered the lives they once lived (evident by the contents) vs. the lives that were shut away for an average length of 30 years! My heart squeezed and my eyes hurt reading some of the heartbreaking biographies of those who suffered with mental or physical illness and those who became ill through horrible life events. Never mind those whose “disorders” were actual life events: the death of a loved one, a nun’s disenfranchisement, post-partum depression, displacement, and poverty. No doubt, there were even a few committed for the secrets they held: much like an attic themselves. And even today, due to legalities and patient privacy, their full names cannot be memorialized, just their first name and their patient number.

After state museum historians thoroughly researched the owners of the 400 attics, the Willard suitcases – scratch that – the men and women of the Willard State Hospital had been honored through a ten-year traveling exhibition in remembrance of who they were, their stories told, their relics shared. They have now found a permanent home at the Museum of disABILITY in Buffalo, New York.

What items would you grab in a fire? Think about your “attic,” your family, your ancestors. What stories do they hold? Don’t let them fade away into oblivion with nary a thought or mention. Write them down. Who were they and how did their lives influence who you became? Share with me and Michelle your thoughts and two commenters will be entered into a giveaway – one for an e-book – one for a paperback of A Moment Forever. Thank you so much for stopping by!

About the book
A Moment Forever (Liberty Victory Series #1)
Published by Vanity & Pride Press in May 2016
Kindle and Paperback; 600 pages

ISBN: 9780997313000

In the summer of 1992, a young writer is bequeathed the abandoned home of a great-uncle she never knew. The house has a romantic history and is unlike any home she has ever seen. Juliana Martel felt as though she stepped into a time capsule—a snapshot of 1942. The epic romance—and heartache—of the former occupant unfold through reading his wartime letters found in the attic, compelling her on a quest to construct the man. His life, as well as his sweetheart’s, during the Second World War were as mysterious as his disappearance in 1950.

Carrying her own pain inflicted by the abandonment of her mother and unexpected death of her father, Juliana embarks on a journalist’s dream to find her great-uncle and the woman he once loved. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a man whose family is closely related to the secrets, she uncovers the carefully hidden events of her great-uncle’s and others’ lives – and will ultimately change her own with their discovery.

This story of undying love, born amidst the darkest era in modern history, unfolded on the breathtaking Gold Coast of Long Island in 1942. A Jewish, Army Air Forces pilot and an enchanting society debutante—young lovers—deception—and a moment in time that lasted forever.

A Moment Forever is an evocative journey that will resonate with you long after you close the book. Romance, heartache, and the power of love, atonement, and forgiveness transform lives long after the horrors and scars of the Second World War have ended.


About the author
Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years.

She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™. Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.

She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.

Giveaway
Up for grabs...one print copy (U.S. only) and one eBook (International) - Two Winners! To enter, please leave a comment below about the author's guest post, and be sure to include your email address so I can contact the winners.

Earn extra entries:
Follow author on -
Twitter: https://twitter.com/40sExperience = One extra entry
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cat.t.gardiner = One extra entry
Blog: http://www.cgardiner1940s.com/#!my-40s-experience/c112v = One extra entry

Leave how/where you followed and your social media user name in your comment to receive the extra entries. Good luck!

Photobucket

Never miss a post!

* indicates required

19 comments:

I apologize for word verification, but I turned it off and had close to 50 spam comments within 12 hours (nobody has time for that) so I had to turn it back on. Sorry!

This blog is Award Free. I appreciate your thinking of me for an award, but please know that your comments are my award. Thank you!

  1. Thanks for being on the blog tour for this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Thank you, Michelle and thank you Serena for all your hard work and attention to getting AMF out there in the historical fiction lover world.

      Delete
  2. Very interesting, Cat. I love history and everything that comes with it and was enchanted by the stories you told about your family. I have never had an attic or a basement while growing up (they are not that common here in Brazil) but it would have been nice to have sth like that to cherish. Thank you! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Daniela! Thank you for commenting and sending AMF love. I bet you have something similar to Lizzy's in AMF, a treasure box for all those special mementos. Perhaps your mom has a keepsake box. "Attics" can come in all shapes and sizes - but I think the best ones are in our hearts and minds: The memories we hold within. :) Love you!

      Delete
  3. Also, I forgot to mention about A Moment Forever, which is such a special book. I highly recommend it and am a big fan. An emotional and inspirational story! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. That was a lovely post and so much interesting information. It rings a bell for me as my daughter suffers with mental health problems. I'm so glad she's living now and not back then when the Lord only knows what would have happened to her. Don't enter me for the give away as I've already read your wonderful book and loved it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Bookworm! I'm so happy that you enjoyed AMF!! You are so right - then vs. now. Reading the histories of these residents at the facility really made me sad. One woman kept insisting that she didn't belong in an asylum and that made her "difficult." There was also a man with epilepsy who lived there for like 50 years. How blessed we are now. Thank you for your lovely comment. I wish you and your daughter all the best and brightest!

      Delete
  5. This sounds like the greatest book I have seen in a while. I'm the "story keeper" in my family so things like this fascinate me. Would love to read the book

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andrea!I hope you get the chance to read AMF. It's very dear to my heart. My father jokes about me being a story keeper - say's every story will end up in a book. LOL He's right. Best of luck in the giveaway. Thank you for commenting.

      Delete
  6. This has been awesome!!! I am so intrigued and I love everything you have stated and the awesome suitcase with all of the wonderful antique everything, Cat! I swear I lived in a different era, especially sometime between the 30's and the late 40's!!! I just love that time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thank you for stopping by, Debbie! I'm with you there - living in the early 40s. So much so, I decided to become a living historian. Maybe that's something for you, too. So happy you enjoyed the article! Hugs, Cat

      Delete
  7. It sounds like a fantastic book, and I love the pretty cover. Thanks for this chance.
    Follow author on Twitter:@AnitaYancey
    Follow author on blog by email: ayancey1974(at)gmail(dot)com

    ayancey1974(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anita! Thank you for the compliments. The book cover is symbolic of the contents. Gardenias and swans play a special role between our 1942 lovers. Thank you for the follows! Good luck in the giveaway.

      Delete
  8. I think that I would grab all of the photo albums first. Though the document wallet with important papers would be a very close second.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mary! I'm with you. Photographs and the glove box with its contents. Thank you so much for commenting. Good luck!

      Delete
  9. I had no clue this archived information existed. The photographs are...well, they made me cry. We have a to-go emergency bag next to our front door and there are no photographs or mementos. Why? Because I scanned them to a thumb drive for easy transport. I would hate to lose them for any reason.

    Great post, ladies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you stalking me? *snort* LOL You are such a sweetie to find me here at this lovely stop, dear friend. The Willard Suitcases are powerful testimonials. There is an interesting YouTube video about the cemetery (if you really want to shed a tear.) When first I discovered this story, it touched me just as you have described. Put something special-tangible- in that bag, Joy. You never know, it just might be what you need to draw strength from at the least expected moment. Hugs, C

      Delete
  10. Love learning more about history and the hidden treasure than unravels in mementos and what they mean. Loved the book and can't wait to read more in the series!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dung! Thank you so much for commenting and your enthusiasm for AMF. It's amazing to me that all the little things hidden away in boxes and attics are a tapestry of historical notes. :) Thank you!!

      Delete
- See more at: http://www.techtrickhome.com/2013/02/show-comment-box-above-comments-on.html#sthash.TjHz2Px9.dpuf
- See more at: http://www.techtrickhome.com/2013/02/show-comment-box-above-comments-on.html#sthash.TjHz2Px9.dpuf